BAE Systems' Danish subsidiary has sold surveillance equipment to United Arab Emirates, a country which recently tried hacking smartphone belonging to activist Amed Mansoor.
Papers from Danish Business Authority reveal export licenses for BAE Systems Applied Intelligence A/S, providing green signal to sell “IP monitoring and data analysis system relating to national security and investigation of grave crimes” to the UAE government, Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information reported last week.
The new license is for "extension service, support, testing and maintenance," indicating that BAE Systems has already delivered a spy system to the UAE.
The documents obtained by Lasse Skou Anderson of Dagbladet Information also disclosed that the Danish Business Authority's running contract between UK defense group BAE Systems Applied Intelligence A/S and the UAE is dated back to December 2014.
Even though the UAE government has been condemned from various humanitarian organizations for monitoring, imprisoning and torturing its critics, the authorities in Denmark have permitted a Denmark-based company to supply the UAE with an "IP monitoring and data analysis" for "serious crime" and "national security" investigations. This could range from mapping a target's social media network and stealing all personal communications data from a device such as a smartphone, using voice recordings, videos, text messages and attachments as a source of information.
Anderson, the journalist who obtained the documents in Denmark was told by the Danish Business Authority that it found no issue approving the export license to the UAE. despite European Commission regulations enforced in October 2014 to control exports of spyware and Internet surveillance equipment that could compromise human rights. But the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Anderson that it has no reason to deny the application.
However, Human Rights Watch states that the UAE “often uses its affluence to mask the government's serious human rights problems." The government of Middle Eastern country arbitrarily detains, and in some cases forcibly disappears individuals who criticized the authorities. The middle eastern countries’ security forces also face allegations of torturing detainees.
The revelations behind the BAE Systems deal between Denmark and the UAE follows shortly on from the disclosure by Citizen Lab that human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, was targeted using the most advanced surveillance hacking techniques on the market made by Israeli software company NSO Group to install spyware onto his smartphone.
"The authorities should take their job more seriously when it comes to the export of surveillance for countries that systematically use technology to suppress lawyers, journalists and human rights activists." Amnesty International told Dagbladet Information.